Top Ten Mystery Films of all Time

Most people put mysteries and thrillers into the same category or genre of films.  A mystery has a suspense aspect to it – who killed whom, who is planning to kill whom and who are the usual suspects. The mystery films are just a small section of the thriller genre – and here are ten of the best whodunit films.


1. Laura  – 1944
Laura 1944

The classic whodunit of all times, the film, directed by Otto Preminger , has more twists and turns than any spiral staircase. Gene Tierney acts as the beautiful Laura, who everyone loves, including the detective Dana Andrews. A slick murder mystery, it is one of the best.


2. Rear Window – 1954
Rear Window 1954

An Alfred Hitchcock classic, James Stewart plays a journalist, stuck at home due to a broken bone, spending his time spying on his neighbours. Anyone else but Hitchcock would have spoilt this film, but he manages to raise it to a flawless mystery level.


3. The Third Man – 1949
The Third Man 1949

A genuine classic, this British film stars Orson Welles in one of his finest roles, as the seductive villain. Very fine acting, an extraordinary story and excellent direction made this into a timeless movie.


4. Maltese Falcon – 1941
Maltese Falcon 1941

An outstanding mystery, Humphrey Bogart is the irascible Sam Spade, a hard drinking private eye. Considered by many to be the best private eye film ever made, it is based on Dasheill Hammett’s 1930 book.


5. North by Northwest – 1959
North by Northwest 1959

Cary Grant in one of his finest roles, as an advertising executive mistaken for a spy, this film was one of Hitchcock’s most entertaining films. A fabulous plot it is a roller coaster ride through most of the film as we follow him and Eva Marie Saint through their travails. And of course the unforgettable scene of Cary Grant on an empty road being chased a small plane.


6. Chinatown – 1974
Chinatown 1974

Roman Polanski’s inspired direction and Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson’s spellbinding performances made this into a great film. Set in the 1930s, it is murky and nasty, but it is a perfect film, and a definite edge-of–the-seat experience.


7. The Usual Suspects – 1995
The Usual Suspects 1995

A complicated crime drama, it keeps you hooked from the first scene of Gabriel Bryne’s shooting and the flashback leading up to this event. Kevin Spacey won an Oscar for his role as a crippled squealer in this film.


8. Murder on the Orient Express – 1974
Murder on the Orient Express 1974

One of Agatha Christie’s most enduring mysteries, it had a star cast consisting of Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot and Ingrid Bergman and Vanessa Redgrave and Lauren Bacall among others. Albert Finney’s knockout performance, and the usual enthralling tale from a master mystery writer made this one of the best mystery films.


9. Gosford Park – 2001
Gosford Park 2001

Two murders and both of the same person?  A confusing story – but then mysteries are made of this. With Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith in two Oscar nominated performances; this was one of Britain’s finest presentations in this century.


10. Sleuth – 1972
Sleuth  1972

A film with only three characters, yet it remains an enthralling film. Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine are the actors in this film. We cannot really term it as a mystery, but it follows the intricacies of an elaborate plot, and the twists and turns make it a riveting film.

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